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Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities (Cirque du Soleil)

August 29th, 2014

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Arriving at Kurios: A Cabinet of Curiosities (staged at the Port Lands) is like walking into a block party. A local ska band is blasting Pharrell out of a sousaphone; stilt-walkers and guests in improbable hats pose for photographs; children rush about, full of energy and excitement; and the enormous blue tent — one of Cirque du Soleil’s trademark Grand Chapiteaux — looms above it all.

The action inside the tent is typical Cirque: acrobatics, clowning, balance, aerialism and contortion, all of the highest quality. But this show still felt like something bigger and better than usual — even our Managing Editor Wayne Leung, who has seen nearly 30 Cirque shows, came away with a sense that this is an exceptional show.

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Review: Love in the Age of AutoCorrect (Loose Tea Music | Theatre)

August 29th, 2014

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A modern take on two classic operas make up Love in the Age of Autocorrect in Toronto’s Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu

I arrived early at Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu at Davenport and Avenue Road in Toronto after a remarkably easy commute from Scarborough. Being a bum, I looked around for dive bars for a cheap pint. FAIL. Out of my natural habitat, but loving it, I was excited to see Loose TEA Music | Theatre’s Love in the Age of Autocorrect.

Constance, my companion for the evening, showed up late. I grilled her in the dark, humid Yorkville air: “So what the hell is an atelier, anyway?”

She said that it is a term that denotes craftsmanship, attention to detail, something special. It means “Come inside. Let’s build something special together.”

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Review: Hedda Gabler (Leroy Street Theatre and Desiderata Theatre Company)

August 29th, 2014

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heddaHedda Gabler currently playing at the Storefront Theatre is an adaptation of Henrik Isbon’s original play written in 1890. Since it was written over a century ago I thought there would be parts of the show that were irrelevant or out-of-date but the themes that run through the show are definitely still relatable. You can tell it’s a period piece from the costumes, sets and bits of dialogue but it doesn’t hit you over the head with it. The show revolves around Hedda Gabler, as the titles suggests, and her relationships, insecurities and less than stable mental state.

The show starts off with the maid turning on a light inside the terrarium – that really struck me. It felt like she was turning on the light so we can look in and observe the insects in their confined space. See their interactions, behaviours and try to understand a part of their psyche. Just like the characters on stage who were about to come on and be observed in the confined space of their living room. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Mercury Fur (Seven Siblings Theatre Co.)

August 29th, 2014

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Mercury Fur, on stage at Unit 102 in Toronto, imagines how far two brothers will go to survive in a bleak dystopian future

Mercury Fur (Seven Siblings Theatre Co.) is a sobering look at a world fallen apart, and its inhabitants who do what they need to in order to survive. These desperate characters intersect as they look back to their past in order to keep them moving forward. This stark drama is currently playing at Unit 102 (376 Dufferin Street).

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Cheap Theatre for the Week of August 26th, 2014

August 26th, 2014

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Variety, they say, is the spice of life. But spices are expensive. Saffron? Clove? Sure, they can really add to a meal. But so can ketchup. So in the spirit of ketchup, this week’s Cheap Theatre listing focuses on giving your week a bit of variety and flavour without breaking the bank. Some are specifically variety shows. Others simply use a variety of art forms in their productions. But all of them are $20 or less per ticket. So go give your week some theatrical variety on the cheap!

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Play Listings for the Week of August 25th, 2014

August 25th, 2014

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Can you believe it’s the last week of August? We can’t. But we CAN believe that there’s still a lot of cool theatre going on in the city. And you can find out what’s playing by checking our handy dandy Play Listings! Anything highlighted in red with two asterisks in front comes highly recommended by our Editor, Mike. We’re filling the last week of August with theatre, and so should you!

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Review: A Tender Thing (Soulpepper)

August 24th, 2014

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A Tender Thing explores Romeo and Juliet as an elderly couple, on stage at the Young Centre in Toronto

Even if you’ve never seen or read it, you’re most likely familiar with the story of Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare’s tragic tale of young lovers doomed by a family quarrel is iconic and references to it pervade our culture. What if, by some fortunate happenstance, Romeo and Juliet had not succumbed to their fate so early? What if they had grown old together? This is the premise of Ben Power’s A Tender Thing, currently playing at Soulpepper. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Cymbeline’s Reign (Shakespeare in the Ruff)

August 22nd, 2014

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Shakespeare in the Ruff brings an al fresco theatre element to Cymbeline’s Reign in Toronto’s Withrow Park

There is always something special about outdoor theatre — it destroys traditional barriers as, unlike in a traditional theatre, there is very little separation from actors and audience. By virtue of the location, a show has to embrace its environment. For a Shakespearean adaptation, an outdoor venue is a return to form that can either rework the Bard for a contemporary audience or fall into the forgettable traditional style.

Shakespeare in the Ruff’s Cymbeline’s Reign — an adaptation, according to the programme — is a show that is not easily forgotten — even if you have the misfortune of being rained out three-quarters through. In fact, Cymbeline’s Reign is an example of how to do Shakespeare without ever losing an important, contemporary edge.

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A Taste of Scotiabank Buskerfest 2014

August 21st, 2014

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Street performances take over downtown Yonge Street at the Scotiabank Buskerfest supporting EPILEPSY Toronto

It’s been a whirlwind of a summer for Toronto, at least in terms of theatre festivals. With the Toronto Fringe Festival, Luminato and Summerworks just to name a few, there have been a lot of live performances bringing the city to life.

Unlike the other festivals, however, Scotiabank Buskerfest brings the performances to the streets of the city, namely Yonge Street between Carlton and Queen, between August 21st (today) and August 24th (Sunday). That’s right – Yonge Street, normally home to thousands of hurried urbanites, will instead be filled with live street performances for the next four days. It’s the biggest festival of its kind in North America, and the entire event is being held in support of EPILEPSY Toronto.

Even if you aren’t familiar with busking (I was a busking virgin before today, I’ll admit!), it’s definitely worth giving Scotiabank Buskerfest a visit or three. With talented performers from Toronto and all over the world, the streets are full of theatre, and you never know what you’ll witness!

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Cheap Theatre for the Week of August 19th, 2014

August 19th, 2014

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There’s something to be said for the experience of seeing a mainstream theatrical production. They can often be expected to have a certain style and level of popular appeal, and often serve as a beautiful night at the theatre. On the other hand, some of the most innovative and moving performances can be found in unconventional theatrical forms, and that’s the focus of this week’s Cheap Theatre posting! After the jump is a list of several out-of-the-ordinary theatrical experiences currently happening in Toronto. Whether it’s a work in progress, or not a work of “theatre” at all, at $20 a ticket or less, you can’t go wrong with going out to see some Cheap Theatre!

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